New York | 2h 15m | Already closed

The Ruins of Civilization

From 14 critic and 57 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Slow, Great acting, Intelligent

About the show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents the world premiere of Penelope Skinner's exploration of our need for free will and connection, even in a world on the brink of extinction. More…

Sometime in the future, spouses Dolores and Silver (TV star Tim Daly) are living their lives within the constraints of a new world order. In an act of what seems like generosity, Dolores secretly opens their home to a stranger in need, but will she come to regret it? Can her actions have an impact or is it just too late?

New York Post

We need more dystopian plays but ‘Ruins’ isn’t the right one…Skinner tackles weighty topics, from the plight of refugees to government control over women’s bodies, but Margaret Atwood she is not. The show may have worked better as a dark comedy, and Tim Daly’s character gets close to that territory. As is, the production keeps you only mildly engaged where it should terrify, or at least unsettle.” Full Review


"Ms. Skinner is to be commended for dishing up a full menu of major world problems…But while 'The Ruins of Civilization' is cleverly trendy it also manages to be both overstuffed and under developed. Too many elements of Ms. Skinner's portrait of life in a ruined civilization are left frustratingly vague...The play's production values are first class…Under Gardiner's direction the grim story moves smoothly to its predictably dark conclusion." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Roxanna Hope and Orlagh Cassidy, as a bureaucrat named Joy, breathe life into side characters, but the central couple is vapidly written and the world they inhabit is thinly drawn. One can only hope for a future in which Skinner has written a second draft of the play." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"However accurately forecasters have predicted bleakness, one can only hope that the future is less boring than the one depicted in the not too subtly titled 'The Ruins of Civilization'…It's not just that the play's themes feel so distressingly familiar. It's that they're also rendered in tedious, meandering fashion, with a vagueness that's more frustrating than intriguing...Gardiner's listless staging does little to elevate the energy level of the proceedings." Full Review

Insipid, Slow, Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You like the idea of a near-future dystopia that discourages having children. Fans of Divergent or The Hunger Games may enjoy it.

Don't see it if You expect clear exposition of the play's circumstances. Avoid if you prefer happier stories or if you dislike a lack of resolution.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Insipid

See it if It was very confusing. There was no back story as to WHY!! Tim Daly was great. He played it very understated and showed his humanity.

Don't see it if Especially when his wife killed herself and the baby.

During previews
Disappointing, Confusing, Banal

See it if You like futuristic theatre. The actors. need to settle into their roles a bit more. Tim Daly looks fantastic and has GREAT shoes in this.

Don't see it if Want a plot that makes sense. Poison Milk for cats that somehow sneak into the apt., letting a total stranger live with you. Confusing.

During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Banal, Indulgent, Insipid

See it if You don't mind watching a show that plods along with no rhyme or reason.

Don't see it if You want to understand the point of it all.

During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You have to- but I walked out at intermission (which I never do!). Too slow, confusing, not interesting.

Don't see it if You don't want to understand what's happening until the second act. I didn't wait.

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Cast & Creatives (11)